The South of Iceland is the most diverse in Iceland in terms of variety of landscapes. More importantly too, that they are closer together allowing you to explore more in one day. However, in order to fully explore truly the “best” of you need to have 7 days. So today I would love to walk you through an exciting South Iceland self-drive itinerary that will leave you utterly inspired!
Where is South Iceland?
From the moment you step off the airplane upon landing at KEF (Keflavík International Airport) you’re in the South of Iceland! As a matter of fact, you are technically within the Reykjanes Peninsula, but it is still considered a part of Southern Iceland. Further, the area of the South spans as far east as Hofn and up into the Icelandic Highlands.
Come along with us as we share the very best South Iceland self-drive itinerary that you can do in an economy car!
Day 1: Driving the Reykjanes Peninsula
You begin the morning by arriving into the KEF airport. Usually North American flights arrive in somewhere between 5-9am. Therefore, get through customs, jump into Duty Free, grab your bags, rental car, and begin your adventure! Your choice of sites follow depending on your desire of exploring:
- Garður Old Lighthouse
- Bridge Between Continents
- Gunnuhver Geothermal Area
- Seltún Geothermal Area
- Lake Kleifarvatn
Best Places to Stay in the Reykjanes Peninsula:
- The Retreat at Blue Lagoon:
- Northern Lights Inn:
- Park Inn By Radisson Keflavik Airport:
Here is a South Iceland self-drive itinerary for the Reykjanes Peninsula Goggle Map Link.
Day 2: South Central Iceland Self Drive
To maximize your day, it’s good to get on the road no later than 8-8:30am. Day 2 brings half the day of offbeat adventures that less tourists find their way to and typically not many bus tours. Opt in for all of the locations below or choose your favorites!
- Kerid Crater (Tourist location which charges admission).
- Faxafoss Waterfall (Note: The land owner is now charging admission / parking).
- Secret Lagoon Hot Spring– Is a fabulous place to relax in natural hot springs!
- Friðheimar– Is an ideal lunch stop if you love tomatoes! But make sure you make in advance reservations so you are not disappointed!
- Hjalparfoss Waterfall
- Haifoss Waterfall offers a 30ish minute hike down into the canyon too!
- Gjáin Waterfalls and Valley (Please be aware, if in an economy car, take it slow the road can be deeply rutted with potholes).
- Hafið Bláa Restaurant (Note- Have a sunset dinner here overlooking a black beach!)
Where to stay after your South Iceland self-drive itinerary Day 2: Hotel Stracta in Hella Iceland. Checkout the Google Maps Link for the full rundown.
Day 3: Heart of South Iceland
Today you will rise with the sun so you can get to see and do all these amazing places! To illustrate, you will discover the heart of Southern Iceland today as explore. Which is compiled of some “best of tourist spots” combined with some slightly offbeat to get away from the crowds.
- Keldur Turf House (Be aware they land owners charge admission during summer).
- Gluggafoss (also called Merkjárfoss): Iceland Travel Tip- Hike into the canyon on the left and also the right side path which takes you to the top!
- Thorsteins Grove
- Nauthúsagil Waterfall- Is at the start of entering into a highland area called Thorsmork.
- Gljufrabui Waterfall- Happens to also be a campground area too if you need!
- Seljalandsfoss Waterfall- The famous waterfall in South Iceland you can walk behind!
- Skógafoss & Skogar Museum
- Kvernufoss Waterfall is a 15 minute hike to a hidden waterfall!
Furthermore, where should you stay during your South Iceland self-drive itinerary?
- Hotel Stracta
- Hotel Kria
- Hotel Vik (hotel, cottages, and apartments)
- Hotel Katla
Don’t forget to save the Google Map Link for Day 3 too!
Day 4: Vik Iceland Self Drive Adventure
Welcome to our home town! Personally, this area is worth spending 3 nights discovering, but we will allow you to decide how many nights you wish. Although, I would love to elevate your adventure if you run on the side of more extreme adventuring.
- Solheimajokull Glacier (You can easily take a look at the lagoon and the glacier, but if you wish to climb on to the glacier, please look to hiring an experienced guide).
- Dyrhólaey Lighthouse (During nesting season the road leading up to the lighthouse is closed but it’s a nice uphill walk!)
- Loftsalahellir Cave
- Reynisfjara Black Beach and Basalt Stacks
- Take Your Pick our Guide to the Best of Vik blog post! Our Vik Expeditions Guide to Vik gives you all the details on where to stay, where to eat, and what to do…
Day 4, South Iceland self-drive itinerary Google Map Link.
Day 5: Heading Southeast
Glaciers are constantly in front of you during this stretch (from the town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur). Likely, you’re going to need to fight the urge to pull over every 30 seconds for a photo. Day 5 is going to be a big day of driving in Iceland, sightseeing, and hiking so make sure you get an early start! Today’s South Iceland self-drive schedule is going to take you to some gorgeous areas…
- Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon
- Foss a Sidu Waterfall
- Dverghamrar Cliffs
- Svartifoss (Inside Skaftafell National Park and about a 45 minute hike one way)
- Fjallsárlón (offbeat glacier lagoon)
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
- Diamond Beach (across the street from Jökulsárlón)
Best place to stay near to the above Southern Iceland self-drive itinerary Day 5 is Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon. Review the Google Map Link for more information.
Day 6: Magical Mountains of South Iceland
Southern Iceland is filled with countless magical mountains that leave you in awe. For example, we suggest you spend several hours exploring the areas below as they are truly unique. Also be aware there is an admission fee to the main area of Stokksnes and you pay inside of the café or the machine outside (if it’s working).
- Viking Café
- Stokksnes (Vestrahorn Mountain)
- Viking Village (It is not real, it’s a movie set that is aging until the director is available)
- Skútafoss Waterfall
- If you’re coming during November-March we suggest you book a blue ice cave tour with our friends at Local Guide.
South Iceland Travel Tip: Stay 2 nights at Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon. Feel free to checkout the Google Maps driving link.
Day 7: Leave with no Regrets!
Lastly, day 7 is devoted to leaving South Iceland with no regrets… For instance, as you drive back west towards the airport or downtown Reykjavík, the South Iceland self-drive itinerary objective is to do anything you didn’t on the way!
Maybe that is one of the countless landscape stops, a hike, or a more extreme Iceland expedition with me? Feel free to contact us for more information on how we can elevate your adventure in Vik Iceland!
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